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• Perverse mankind! whose wills, created free, Charge all their woes on absolute decree; All to the dooming gods their guilt translate, And follies are miscall’d the crimes of Fate. When to his lust Egysthus gave the rein, Did Fate, or we, the adulterous act constrain ? Did Fate, or we, when great Atrides died, Urge the bold traitor to the regicide? Hermes I sent, while yet his soul remain'd Sincere from royal blood, and faith profaned, To warn the wretch, that young Orestes, grown To manly years, should reassert the throne. Yet impotent of mind, and uncontrol'd, He plunged into the gulf which Heaven foretold.'
Here paused the god; and pensive thus replies Minerva, graceful with her azure eyes • O thou! from whom the whole creation springs, The source of power on earth derived to kings! His death was equal to the direful deed; So may the man of blood be doom'd to bleed ! But grief and rage
breast For brave Ulysses, still by Fate oppress’d. Amidst an isle, around whose rocky shore The forests murmur, and the surges roar, The blameless hero from his wish’d-for home A goddess guards in her enchanted dome. (Atlas her sire, to whose far-piercing eye The wonders of the deep expanded lie; The' eternal columns which on earth he rears End in the starry vault, and prop the spheres.) By his fair daughter is the chief confined, Who sooths to dear delight his anxious mind : Successless all her soft caresses prove, To banish from his breast his country's love;
To see the smoke from his loved palace rise,
avow'd thy power, Be doom'd the worst of human ills to prove, Unbless'd, abandon’d to the wrath of Jove? Daughter'! what words have pass'd thy lips
unweigh'd! (Replied the thunderer to the martial maid) Deem not unjustly by my doom oppress'd Of human race the wisest and the best. Neptune, by prayer repentant rarely won, Aficts the chief, to’avenge his giant son, Whose visual orb Ulysses robb'd of light; Great Polypheme, of more than mortal might! Him young
Thoösa bore (the bright increase Of Phorcys, dreaded in the sounds and seas), Whom Neptune eyed with bloom of beauty bless'd, And in his cave the yielding nymph compress'd. For this, the god constrains the Greek to roam, A hopeless exile from his native home, From death alone exempt—but cease to mourn; Let all combine to’ achieve his wish'd return; Neptune, atoned, his wrath shall now refrain, Or thwart the synod of the gods in vain.'
• Father and king adored! (Minerva cried) Since all who in the’ Olympian bower reside Now make the wandering Greek their public care, Let Hermes to the’ Atlantic isle' repair ;
Bid him, arrived in bright Calypso's court,
She said : the sandals of celestial mould,
On hides of beeves, before the palace gate,
Stranger! whoe'er thou art, securely rest, Affianced in my faith, a friendly guest: Approach the dome, the social banquet share, And then the purpose of thy soul declare.'
Thus affable and mild, the prince precedes, And to the dome the unknown celestial leads. The spear receiving from her hand, he placed Against a column, fair with sculpture graced; Where seemly ranged in peaceful order stood Ulysses' arms, now long disused to blood. He led the goddess to the sovereign seat, Her feet supported with a stool of state (A purple carpet spread the pavement wide); Then drew his seat, familiar, to her side ;
Far from the suitor train, a brutal crowd,
Meanwhile, in whispers to his heavenly guest, His indignation thus the prince express’d:
Indulge my rising grief, whilst these, my friend, With song and dance the
revel end. Light is the dance, and doubly sweet the lays, When, for the dear delight, another pays. His treasured stores these cormorants consume, Whose bones, defrauded of a regal tomb